On the rise

Textbook Prices copy 2 Courtney Tanner
(Brent Uberty) Books line every shelf at the U's Campus Bookstore.

(Brent Uberty) Books line every shelf at the U’s Campus Bookstore.

Most of the moans and groans of a new semester can be heard at the Campus Bookstore. Depending on their major, students can spend more than $150 per semester on books alone.

Professors may bear some of the blame when it comes to the high costs of textbooks — books are chosen by the professor teaching that class. And some professors request the newest editions, which carry the highest costs.

“Each year, publishers release a new edition of a book that if the professor deems it necessary for their class, we have to carry it,” said Dave Nelson, head buyer for the U’s Campus Bookstore.

But he sympathizes more with students than with professors.

“We know it’s expensive, and we want to save students money,” Nelson said.

The U rents out 1,200 books a semester and increases that amount every new term. This costs less for students, but the limited number of copies means not every student can shop for books this way.

Dayna Taylor, a sophomore in atmospheric science, is not looking forward to buying books for the coming semester because of the hefty price tags. “

The price of textbooks is ridiculous, especially since most college students aren’t exactly affluent,” she said. “The cost also deters people from buying them [at all], which could have a pretty big impact on their grades in class.”

Some students at the U turn to Amazon, an online retailer, to purchase books at a lower price. Amazon offers deals with an Amazon Student account that gives students free shipping for their books, as well as used, new or rented titles.

“Amazon is where it’s at,” said Sammie Laubacher, a sophomore in elementary education.

Engineering students hold the record for most expensive book costs, ranging upwards of $250. English students often purchase individual books at lower costs, but buy more books total, putting them in the $100 range.

E-textbooks are another option. It’s an electronic version of a textbook for tablets that are less expensive, but also less popular. If you purchase an e-textbook, you cannot sell it back or use it for a long period of time — typically one year.

For students to make money off of their books at the end of the semester, there is a buyback program at the Campus Bookstore and other bookstores in Salt Lake City. A student pays full price for a book and receives a portion of that money in return during buyback.

By purchasing textbooks on a U-card, students have another alternative to save money. Paying with “U Cash” saves five percent on all textbook purchases from the Campus Bookstore.

s.arevalo@chronicle.utah.edu